December 15, 1791: The Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, took effect following ratification by Virginia. From a parochial point of view, the First Amendment with its statement on religion was the most important of the ten amendments to the Jews of the new nation. Unlike Europe, with its deeply rooted anti-Semitism, acceptance of Jews was a given from America’s earliest days. Jews have been very vigilant in using the First Amendment to ensure separation of church and state. Unfortunately, there are some shortsighted Jews who have been willing to blur the line for short term political or financial gains. (Mitchell Levin)
The United States Post Office released a 5-cent stamp in 1966 honoring the 175th anniversary of the Bill of Rights. Text in the design reads, “The rights of the people shall not be violated”, an important assurance in any given year, but especially important in today’s domestic and global political climate.